Howdie Road Runners,
Please pardon me if there are more spelling or grammatical mistakes in the blog than usual; I’ve had a traumatic day. It started well: breakfast at Rainham Tesco before a beautiful cycle through Rainham Marshes with the BURPS (Barking Urban Road Pedallers). The cattle were lowing, the bees were buzzing, the birds were singing. We cycled to the RSPB centre for refreshments before cycling back to Rainham Village. At that point Nabeel suggested we all cycle up Ingrebourne Hill. Now, I’ve run up I quite a few times at the Spitfire Scramble, so I should have known what to expect, but cycling up it on a 21kg was a whole new experience. But it was nothing to Nabeel’s next challenge: the mountain bike course. I may be the first person to ever try a mountain bike course on a tricycle and for good reason. It was going well until I hit the first steep hill, where the middle of the trike became grounded. I got off, pushed it over the top and re-mounted, only to come a cropper on a steep downhill section, where I ended up in some bushes. By the time Les had told the story, I had fallen down a steep precipice, somersaulting several times before a handy boulder broke my fall. Luckily no damage was done but several restorative beverages were required to calm my nerves.
Membership of BURPS is free to all Barking Road Runners. You have to pay to leave…
Athletics in the News
Back to some ‘real’ sport, with the second round of athletics’ Diamond League in Doha on Friday. There weren’t many Brits competing this time, maybe due to Covid travel restrictions. Of those that were there, the best performances were from Holly Bradshaw, who came third in the women’s pole vault, an encouraging return to form just before the Tokyo Olympics, and Daniel Rowden who came third in the men’s’ 800m.
BRR in Action
Summer handicap #02 this week was another exciting race with 11 runners finishing inside their handicaps. Mick Moohan was 1st, with new member Emma Botterill 2nd and Dennis Spencer-Perkins in 3rd. After two races Jason Li leads the series by 1 point from Martin Mason and Dennis Spencer-Perkins.
At the Gravesend Cyclopark 10k BRR had four runners competing. Trevor Cooper finished 2nd in his category with a time of 48.43, Cristina Cooper finished 1st in her category in 51.46 and Belinda Riches finished 3rd in her category with a time of 53.01. Sadly, Martin Page had to drop out with only around a kilometre to go due to injury.
BRR had three runners in the Lee Valley Velopark Half Marathon, all of whom finished top ten. Jack Nixon was 4th overall and 2nd in his category with a time of 1:18:20. Joe Stacey finished 6th overall and 3rd in his category with a time of 1:20:14. James Lowndes finished 9th overall and 1st in his category with a time of 1:24:29. Sorry, I couldn’t find a sunshiney photo of Jack to include.
Rory Burr was first BRR member over the line at Virtual Park Run this week, finishing in 14th place in 25:39. Kresh Veerasamy was in 45th place in 38:05.
Over at Barking (not)parkrun, Ron Vialls was first over the virtual line in 22:09 (PB), followed by Jason Li was fourth in 25:36 (PB). Emma Botterill’s 29:00 finish time also earned her a new PB, as did Alison Fryatt’s 31:32. Rob Courtier completed the 5k course in 30:08 and Greg Adams in 34:38. Rory Burr completed Harrow Lodge (not)parkrun in 24:30.
Race Review – Lee Valley Velopark HM (Jack Nixon)
A great race review this week from Jack, with some thoughtful performance analysis included.
Training has been a fairly solid mix of easy running and some intervals mainly focused towards marathon distance. Had been running some encouraging times in training and was feeling confident in the run up to the race.
Turned up and the atmosphere around the venue was excellent with runners for the earlier race being led through a high energy and well-structured warm up by a race official. Set up at the venue was very organised and based off this would recommend Runthrough events if they are all as well organised as this one.
We could see part of the course from where Joe, James and myself met up. The part of the course was a turn going up a reasonable gradient and could see people being forced to overtake quite wide on the bend. The elevation of the course was a little more than I had expected having a brief look at it but casually dismissed it at the time which turned out later to be a mistake.
Another warning sign was that the weather had started to heat up a little with the sun still hiding behind the clouds which I also should have maybe considered a little more. We went for a nice one mile warm up followed by a few strides and were called up to start a little earlier than we had expected.
We were led through an already fairly busy course to the start line where we were separated by cones 2 metres apart. We were held for a little bit and then told to set off one at a time a few seconds apart. The two guys ahead of me went off blisteringly quickly and I let them go but got dragged along a little quicker than I had been planning on setting off. With this in mind I was then passed by a runner from behind who I decided to stick with and matched his pace which was a little faster than I was planning to go but not completely outside the realms of possibility. He kept a fairly quick pace for about two miles and then began to fade at which point I passed him.
- At this stage I was feeling very strong and the miles were going by easily and ahead of my goal pace with the elevation of the course yet to take its toll on me. At around the 4th mile I started to feel the heat of the sun which must if come out at some stage after starting the race. The congestion on the course was quite an issue leading to frequent overtaking. The best example would be a man wearing gloves walking the blue line of the course on the inside lane. With hundreds of other runners, it had been difficult to run near the optimal line for any part of the race.
My paces begun to slow and holding my original goal pace had become a distant dream around the halfway mark. With the heat now sapping my energy and no competitors in sight in front or behind me, finding motivation to fight to hold my goal pace become difficult to the point where damage limitation had become my sole concern.
I thought going under 1:18 was probably the best I could hope for now unless pushed to race harder by someone from behind. As the miles went by, I started slipping further off pace but lacked the strength of will to push harder.
Coming to the final four laps I thought a sub 1:18 would be possible to salvage and tried to slow down slightly less than I had been every mile with some success as opposed to bleeding huge amounts of time every mile. Once I got to the final lap, I dug a little deeper and upped the pace as much as I could. Running towards the finish a few hundred metres out my watch beeped for the distance at around 1:17:30ish. Gritted my teeth and run up the hill to the finish completing the race in official time of 1:18:29.
I’ve had a day to reflect on the race and after my initial disappointment with my time it has (hopefully) taught me valuable lessons and highlighted mistakes I hope to avoid racing in the future.
The weather and course elevation can have a bigger effect on race times than I had given them credit for. I should have adjusted my goal time and pacing strategy before setting off.
Also, after starting slightly too fast and feeling relatively strong I didn’t give enough credit to the distance of the race and burned out too early. A smarter pacing strategy would have most likely bought me home in a better time. As long as I have learned these lessons for my next race then it will have been a worthwhile experience.
Milton Keynes marathon for me is the next big race and the focus of all of my training. It’s a qualifying race for the England Marathon Master’s team and requires a sub 2:50 and finishing in the top five V35 athletes who have expressed an interest in the team. I’m going to try and get a couple of solid weeks of training in before tapering down for MK.
7.00pm, Tuesday 1 June – speed development, Jim Peter’s Track. Please park in the car park adjacent to the Sporthouse. This week’s session is matched pairs – the recovery time matches the run time:
- (Run 2:00, recover 2:00) x 4
- (Run 1:30, recover 1:30) x 4
- (Run 1:00, recover 1:00) x 4
- (Run 0:30, recover 0:30) x 4
- (Run 0:15, recover 0:15) x 4
42 minutes in total – simples! Make sure to warm up properly before we start as these are short, sharp, bursts of activity. As usual, the aim is to try and finish as strong as you started. If you’re taking part in the D88 ELVIS race on Wednesday, you might want to take it easy…
7.30pm, 2 June – Dagenham 88 5ish ELVIS race. The race is closed for entries and the 5k times of all our participants have been submitted to D88, to decide which start group they should be in.
9.30am, 5 June – (not)parkrun trial run, Barking Park. To help our test the new parkrun results app and software. It’s not a real parkrun and won’t count towards your milestones, but it will help the volunteers prepare for the real thing, hopefully later in the month.
9.30am, 6 June – Hainault trail running. Meet in the car park by the Global café, Foxburrow Road. Variance distances and speeds!
8.00am, Saturday 19th June – the longest day 24-hour challenge. Run (or walk) a mile on the hour every consecutive hour for 24 hours. Details here: https://www.phoenixrunning.co.uk/events/virtual-p24-the-longest-day
8:00am-9:00am, Sunday 20th June – Victoria Park 10k. A fast, flat course for those of you looking for a PB. More details at https://www.theraceorganiser.com/e/victoria-park-2935
7.30pm, 23 June – EERR Midsummer 5k. The second race in the ELVIS series. Details and sign-up at https://www.entrycentral.com/newmanhilly5
8.00pm, Friday 25 June – John Clarke Memorial Fell Race. The only Category A fell race in Essex or within the M25. 1,000 feet of climb within three miles. £3 entry fee on the night includes a free beer or glass of wine in the Orion Harriers club house for all finishers afterwards.
9.00am, 26 June – parkrun, various locations. We’re keeping everything crossed.
7.30pm, 14 July – Ilford Athletics Club Newman Hilly 5. A trail 5-miler through Hainault Forest. Details and sign-up at https://www.entrycentral.com/newmanhilly5
9.30am, 22 August – Clacton 10k/Half. A nice day out if the weather is kind. Lunch in the Greek restaurant afterwards, if we can get a table! Information and entry at https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/clacton-half.
Running Hero Survey
Thank you to everyone who nominated their running hero in the latest Club survey. We had a very good mix of responses, showing that it’s not just the fastest, elite, athletes that can provide inspiration. Here are the answers:
Hero: Steve Ovett
Why? Steve was simply the best, fast, a winner, but one of us, a normal bloke, no airs and graces
Hero: Micky Ball
Why? Who can help but be inspired by Micky!
Hero: Mo Farah
Why? His reputation has been a bit tarnished recently due to his connection with Alberto Salazar, but his rise to fame coincided with my taking up running. I felt an affinity with him as we ran the same distances, although he was more than twice as fast as me. And we share a birthday, so there must be a spiritual connection!
Hero: Belinda Riches
Why? She is good at giving running advice and tips
Hero: Stephen Scullion
Why? Suffered great adversity had alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues. Talks openly about them and is always giving out information to running community for free via his podcast and now YouTube channel and is going to Tokyo Olympics for the marathon.
Hero: Kevin Wotton
Why? No reason given, but a deserving nomination for Kevin!
Hero: All parkrun volunteers and runners
Why? My first ever run was at parkrun and the rest is history, as they say!
I hope this has whetted your appetite for running heroes. Over the coming weeks I’ll be remembering some of the heroes who have contributed to our sport over the years.
Cracker Corner – the Barbershop Edition
- Les went to the barbers and asked how much for a haircut and the barber answered £8.50. Les asked how much for a shave and the barber said £3. ‘OK’, Les said ‘Shave my head’.
- I have come to realise how bad hairdressers are to have as friends. They are always talking behind your back.
- I wanted to be a hairdresser. But I just couldn’t cut it.
And one for us runners…
- How did the hairdresser win the London Marathon? He took a shortcut.
The sun is out and so is my fake tan; the world is not ready for my pale and pasty legs. I just managed to stop Chris from eating my self-tan mitt. He thought it was a pitta bread…